News Feed News, Voice Search and LinkedIn Groups in the Americas Download
January 17, 2018
By Zak Mehan
New Feed, Who Dis?
Facebook sent the media world into a tailspin last week when it announced a change to its News Feed algorithm that will make it harder for publications and brands to reach users. Likely in response to serious reputational threats following the spread of fake news (and Americans’ growing interest in regulating the social media giant), Facebook’s News Feed will now prioritize content posted or commented on by friends, rather than media or brand pages.
Even large media outlets like CNN and the WSJ draw a lot of site traffic and engagement through Facebook traffic, while new digital outlets are almost wholly reliant on engagement with content through the News Feed. This transition is going to hurt.
As TheNextWeb’s Matt Navarra put it, social media managers for publishers are now going to have to act like social media managers for brands (AKA, bust out that corporate card). This will have an impact on how “viral” stories spread, potentially making them harder to track as they need to be shared by individual users for the kind of traction brands currently enjoy. OR they need to be paid for.
The ultimate takeaway is that any publishers or brands that want to be successful on Facebook will have to make substantial investments in both content that is engaging and in promotion and targeting. Companies should focus on two things: building engaged audiences ready to share their content (influencers can help here) and thinking about the smartest ways to target users through paid promotions. Without those, branded posts will be left floating in the digital ether.
(For anyone who wants to get really nerdy on it, Axios produced a special edition of its Media Trends weekly newsletter that is brilliant.)
The Search for the Future
A pervasive theme at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was “voice”. The rise in voice technology has been driven by at-home assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, and is predicted to change two big areas in digital communications and marketing: content and search. Let’s look at content first.
Facebook’s algorithm is changing to lower the rankings of videos from brands and publishers (see above), user engagement with video is wavering (and the metrics have always been wonky) and YouTube is facing major brand safety issues. This, combined with the growing ubiquity of voice-activated hardware, seems to make this an opportune moment for audio-only content.
In terms of search, voice is seriously shaking up the market. While Google has rushed to market with Home, Amazon is the dominant party in voice search right now. This means that companies should be looking in even more directions to figure out how their brands are represented through search results.
There are also some meta questions – what does brand mean in a world without visuals – but we’ll leave those aside for now and just say that these are key trends to watch.
LinkedIn, still technically one of the big four, has long been the quiet, buttoned-up cousin to Facebook. After a recent revamp of the look of the site and company pages, LinkedIn is adding some more features to try to boost user engagement and the utility of the platform.
In particular, Groups are getting a boost. Posts from Groups will now have an elevated place on users’ timelines, and navigation will be made easier with links directly on the home page. Also, while the rest of tech is pivoting to voice, LinkedIn is still working through the pivot to video, allowing users to post videos into groups.
While this channel can be overlooked from an outreach perspective, LinkedIn can be hugely valuable in reaching very targeted sets of professionals. The Group emphasis may make it even easier to hit pre-segmented groups of relevant stakeholders.
The Reading List
BuzzFeed Responds Perfectly to Facebook’s Changes AdAge
Digital media companies are headed for a crash, Hearst Magazines president David Carey says Recode
Death by 280 Characters: How to Avoid Viral Social Media Blunders Entrepreneur
New study looks at FDA’s use of social media to communicate on drug safety Endpoints News
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting LLP, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals, members or employees.